INDY Week 6.30.21

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Raleigh | Durham | Chapel Hill June 30, 2021

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by Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme, p. 16

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Raleigh W Durham W Chapel Hill VOL. 38 NO. 24

NC Courage player Jessica McDonald at the June 26 match, p. 20 PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

CONTENTS NEWS 6

During his last six months in office, Durham mayor Steve Schewel reflects on his achievements, regrets, and goals for the city. BY REBECCA SCHNEID Republicans' attempts to limit voter turnout could backfire.

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BY THOMASI MCDONALD

10 As Pride Month wraps up, what's the landscape like for North Carolina's LGBTQ+ residents? BY JASMINE GALLUP 12 Nearly a year after a Raleigh cyclist was murdered on the greenway, police have yet to make a charge in the case. BY THOMASI MCDONALD 13 Along with a new Bus Rapid Transit route, all kinds of infrastructure improvements are coming to Raleigh's New Bern Avenue corridor. BY CARYL ESPINOZA JAEN

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Surry County Commissioners tried to cancel Coca-Cola. It's just the latest on a long list of conservative political stunts. BY SARA PEQUEÑO

ARTS & CULTURE 16 How Crook's Corner lives on in kitchens across the United States. BY MADDY SWEITZER-LAMME

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Celebrating North Carolina rock star Link Wray's indelible, audacious selftitled album, which turns 50 this month. BY NICK MARTIN 20 On the scene at NC Courage Pride Night. BY MICHAELA DWYER

THE REGULARS 3 15 Minutes

4 Quickbait

5 Op-ed

COVER Photo by Brett Villena

WE M A DE THIS PUBLIS H ER Susan Harper

Staff Writer Thomasi McDonald

EDITOR I AL

Digital Content Manager Sara Pequeño

Editor in Chief Jane Porter Managing Editor Geoff West Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards

Copy Editor Abigail O'Neill Theater+Dance Critic Byron Woods

Interns Caryl Espinoza Jaen, Ellie Heffernan, Rebecca Schneid

Senior Writer Leigh Tauss

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June 30, 2021

Contributors Madeline Crone, Jameela F. Dallis, Grant Golden, Spencer Griffith, Lucas Hubbard, Layla Khoury-Hanold, Brian Howe, Lewis Kendall, Kyesha Jennings, Glenn McDonald, Anna Mudd, Dan Ruccia, Jake Sheridan

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BACK TA L K

Last week, writer Leigh Tauss wrote about Kevin Coppage, a former division chief with the Raleigh Fire Department who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city for denying him promotions over the course of his career based on his race. After the complaint was filed, Coppage was harassed with anonymous text messages, presumably from his RFD colleagues, that accused him of harassing his co-workers. Well, readers wrote to us, too—some slightly incoherently—to tell us that we don’t have all the sides of the story.

“A lot of false statement in this report,” wrote Facebook commenter WALK TUMBLE. “Think about it why would Coppage agreed to take a voluntary dismissal when he could get millions. The DWI would not have been a factor until his original statement to the chief ’s was not true. Their has got to be additional details his job performance and actions in this matter for a black educated veteran not to receive a promotion in the liberal city of Raleigh NC. Remember their are three sides to a story, the plaintiff, the defendant and a thin line in the middle is the truth. Harvey hire date was 2-14-91 F-456, Coppage hire date was 05-13-1994 F 522 so how did Coppage train Harvey? RFD history website, legeros” We suggest you reread the story to decipher that one. And, in an email to us, CASSIE LAWLOR wrote that Coppage “has HR complaints against him,” a point that was alluded to in the story via the substance of the anonymous text messages but that the INDY couldn’t verify due to personnel laws. “Shame on you for hearing his one-sided version of the story and spinning it into a race article, when he has hurt so many others,” Cassie wrote. “It’s men like him who use their power to make their way through life, and you fed right into his self-serving bias. How do you think your story makes those women, who he harassed, feel? He made the choice to resign before the stories about his misconduct with female firefighters came out and tarnished the story he had been creating about himself. He sold you on a race story to cover up who he actually is, and you fell hook-line-and sinker for it.” Not sure how reporting on a racial discrimination lawsuit constitutes our “spinning it into a race article,” but I think we all agree, it’d be helpful if the City of Raleigh would weigh in here.

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15 MINUTES Victoria Scott-Miller, Age 35 Founder of Liberation Station Bookstore BY REBECCA SCHNEID backtalk@indyweek.com PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

Why did you create the Liberation Station Bookstore? In 2019, my family was going through a massive transition. We were falling on difficult times financially, but our children were still dreaming. Our oldest son, Langston, was like, “Mom, I really want to start writing books, and I want to be able to sell the books.” We went to Barnes & Noble, and it was difficult finding the type of books that he wanted to write and books that represented our children. My husband and I sat down and asked, “What’s in our account,” and we didn’t really have a lot. But one thing about us: we’re always innovating. We took the last bit of money and opened up a bookstore to try to see if we can create the space that our children were desiring. We didn’t have any access to capital, or brick and mortar, and so we were like, “Well, what do we have that’s mobile? Our car.” So we literally just bought books, and worked out of there, and encouraged our children to continue writing until we gained enough momentum and traction to be able to house their stories.

How has the mission of the Liberation Station Bookstore changed over the past two years? Originally, our mission was for our children, but then we [asked], “What can we do to give what we’re giving to our children everywhere?” Our first partner was Sarah P. Duke Gardens and we curated a small collection of books, the Black Lit library. We created a space where little kids can come visit the gardens, and be on a college campus to hear stories about themselves. We want to have it just be in the fabric of their childhood. That flowed over into The Durham Hotel to give children the experience of luxury without requiring anything of them. We said

we’re going to continue going into these spaces where children of color might not necessarily feel comfortable. Then, George Floyd was killed, and instantly, our small business became a global business. In a matter of weeks. But it was really hard for me to feel and embrace the success of that moment, because we understood where it came from. I felt so much anger as a parent and as a Black woman. I realized that the children don’t need to see a reflection of what the world is telling them. They need to see joy. So the mission became about them entering our libraries, and feeling peace, not feeling that anger, that tension. We wanted to create deep breaths, all over the city.

Do you see the Liberation Station Bookstore symbolizing a new future of literature and art? I believe it to be a pathway towards true liberation. I want this work to create a boundless generation. We want to affirm children early, so when they get to these spaces where there are perceived glass ceilings and closed doors, they will know to bring their chalk and make the door, and they will know to shatter the glass. And to have complete joy in the midst of all of that. W INDYweek.com

June 30, 2021

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QUICKBAIT

Life’s a Beach

Kitty Hawk Driving distance: 3 hours 37 minutes Stuff to do: Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kitty Hawk Pier, Dare County Arboretum, Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve

BY LEIGH TAUSS ltauss@indyweek.com

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t’s officially the first weekend of summer! There’s no better way to work on those tan lines and enjoy a cool ocean breeze than at one of North Carolina’s many beaches. But which one, you ask? We got you. Here’s the rundown on what you need to know about some of the best beaches within driving distance—from how long you’ll be on the road to fun stuff to do when you get there. Special note: water quality at all beaches scored in the high 90s. (FYI, we used the Raleigh-Durham Airport as a starting point to calculate drive time with no traffic. For the water quality, we used TheSwimGuide.org).

Nags Head Driving distance: 3 hours 23 minutes Stuff to do: Jockey’s Ridge State Park, First Flight Adventure Park, Nags Head Woods Preserve, Jennette’s Pier, Bodie Island Lighthouse

Ocracoke Island

Topsail

Sunset Beach

Driving distance: 2 hours 50 minutes Stuff to do: Boat and Jet Ski rental, Southside Park, Surf City Pier, Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

Driving distance: 3 hours 7 minutes Stuff to do: Sunset Beach Waterfront Park, Ingram Planetarium, Golf

Driving distance: 5 hours 54 minutes (includes 70-minute ferry crossing) Stuff to do: Springer’s Point Preserve, Ocracoke Lighthouse, Hammock Hills Nature Trail, Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, Portsmouth Village, Ocracoke Pony Pens

Ocean Isle Beach Driving distance: 2 hours 53 minutes Stuff to do: Museum of Coastal Carolina, Carolina School of Surf, The Swamp Park, Mini Golf

Atlantic Beach Driving distance: 3 hours 10 minutes Stuff to do: Oceanana Pier, Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail, Fort Macon State Park

Wrightsville Beach Driving distance: 2 hours 25 minutes Stuff to do: Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, Crystal Pier, Farmer’s Market

Carolina Beach

Bald Head Island Driving distance: 3 hours 39 minutes (includes 20-minute ferry crossing) Stuff to do: Old Baldy Lighthouse, Bald Head Island Conservancy, Kent Mitchell Nature Trail

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Driving distance: 2 hours 42 minutes Stuff to do: Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Freeman Park, Carolina Beach State Park, Restaurants, Fireworks


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Who’s Indoctrinating Whom? The GOP is mischaracterizing Critical Race Theory, both in North Carolina and nationally, to its own suppressive ends. BY YASMINE FLODIN-ALI backtalk@indyweek.com

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uring the Red Scare of the 1950s, labeling a person a communist was a surefire way to blacklist them. These days, Critical Race Theory is the new bogeyman. Republicans invoke Critical Race Theory at every turn, insisting that it is rife with indoctrination and bias, with no attention to the actual body of work that makes up the theory. In May, the North Carolina House voted to pass House Bill 324, which seeks to curtail K-12 educators’ ability to teach about race in public schools. Republican House Speaker Tim Moore claimed that the bill fights back against Critical Race Theory. Twenty such bills have been introduced in legislatures across the country. In early June, at the North Carolina Republican annual convention, former president Donald Trump called for a ban on Critical Race Theory in the federal government and workplaces. North Carolina Republicans in Congress, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, are now introducing a bill to ban The 1619 Project from being taught in K-12 schools, also characterizing it as an example of Critical Race Theory. Yet few people really know what Critical Race Theory is. Across the political spectrum, the actual theorists and their ideas are rarely cited. Critical Race Theory is an academic framework that first developed in the late 1970s, largely in the context of law schools, that seeks to analyze U.S. law as it intersects with race and challenge certain approaches to social justice. Professor and lawyer Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality in response to court cases that dealt with discrimination yet failed to

“Teaching that many of the founders of the United States were slaveowners is not an engagement with Critical Race Theory; it’s a statement of fact.” consider the ways that different forms of oppression intersect. For example, in one case a company reasoned that they could not be charged with discrimination against their employees who were Black women, on the basis that they hired and retained Black men and white women. The Combahee River Collective Statement, written primarily by Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, and Demita Frazier, is often cited as another work foundational to Critical Race Theory. The collective was formed by a group of Black socialist feminist lesbians who felt that in their

work as activists in various movements, aspects of their identities had been marginalized. In their joint statement, the collective coined the term identity politics and argued that coalition-building with an eye towards the connections among issues was necessary for successful organizing and real change. Critical Race Theory has been influential, broadly speaking, in the way that we view movements and identity formation, but it is questionable how directly the theory is making its way into classroom discussions about race. Our state’s legislature would like to prevent all education about race, with or without Critical Race Theory. North Carolina’s House Bill 324 bans schools from teaching that the United States “was created by members of a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex.” This is a blatant attempt to whitewash history. Teaching that many of the founders of the United States were slaveowners who did not believe that non-white men deserved rights is not an engagement with Critical Race Theory; it’s a statement of fact. Our students deserve to become better global citizens by being taught a broad exposure to different ideas. Here is the Orwellian twist: conservatives are using the fear of Critical Race Theory to censor knowledge and indoctrinate students into their own political world views. It’s not the other way around. W Yasmine Flodin-Ali is a PhD Candidate in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studies Muslims, race, and racialization. INDYweek.com

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Durham Durham Mayor Steve Schewel PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

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The View Ahead With his retirement following two terms in office on the horizon, Steve Schewel reflects on his biggest achievements, some regrets, and what comes next BY REBECCA SCHNEID backtalk@indyweek.com

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s Mayor Steve Schewel leads me up the stairs from the lobby of Durham’s City Hall to his office, it’s easy to notice how little there is to notice. The halls and chairs outside his office are empty. New plexiglass has been installed to separate employees from visitors, but right now, it’s protecting nobody. Ours is the first in-person meeting Schewel has taken in his office in almost 14 months, but it’s not obvious. He moves about checking mail and lounging in the leather seats in front of his desk, an air of ease emanating. It’s natural for him to be here; it’s been his workspace for the better part of four years, but in about six months, he will be on his way out. “After hours and hours and hours on Zoom every day, helping our businesses and our people get through the pandemic, it’s been hard,” Schewel says. “But I’m proud of us, and this feels like a natural breaking point.” Last month, Schewel announced on the steps of this same building that he won’t run for a third term as mayor. He has a long history in Durham, as newspaper founder and publisher, to working on the county school board and city council, to his time in office helming the city. He’s experienced successes, such as passing the affordable housing bond; disappointments, including the death of the light rail project; and unexpected struggles, most notably, the COVID-19 pandemic. After almost 40 years doing public service work, and with his first grandchild on the way, Schewel says he is ready for new adventures. 6

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ince arriving in Durham from Virginia in 1969 to study English at Duke University, Schewel has enmeshed himself in Durham’s political sphere. Back in 1983, he founded this newspaper, originally called the North Carolina Independent, later renamed INDY Week. Schewel looks at this part of his past with pride; his work as a newspaper publisher is one of the first things he reminds me of as we walk up to his office. The work, he says, gave him the tools he used later as an elected official: communication skills, and community building, too. “We were doing journalism that no one else was, and when you do that, you get to know the community really well,” Schewel says. “It was an opportunity to love Durham even more.” Schewel also taught public policy at Duke and at North Carolina Central University while raising his family in Durham. A commitment to his children’s education pushed him to run for a position on Durham Public School’s (DPS) Board of Education for the first time at the age of 54. He would eventually lead the board as vice chair. “I started late, which is, I think, a good thing,” he says. “I was very deeply embedded in my community. I had been involved in so many things already.” Schewel worked on a DPS task force to merge the city and county public schools systems, and that investment drove him further into public service and the desire to commit his life to Durham In the midst of Bill Bell’s 16-year tenure, Schewel says he didn’t think about the possibility of being mayor. Once his kids were out of DPS, he left his position on the school board and took a break from public office. Then, an opening on Durham’s City Council became available. He ran, and before he knew it, had served six terms. In 2017, Schewel ran for, and was elected, mayor. He built a campaign on a vision of Durham as a progressive beacon of the South—a place to celebrate inclusivity and diversity. Schewel points to progressive environmental policies, police reform, and affordable housing as sectors where he saw a need for leadership, progress, and most important, unity. “I’ve said many times: whatever your language, whatever your race, whatever your documentation status, we embrace you, we will have you, we love you,” Schewel says. “So that was both a political slogan, and a very deeply held belief that I have, and that’s the root of why I ran.”

Leading Durham Schewel has a knack for budgeting and for communicating, political observers say. For instance, he lobbied hard to pass the $95 million affordable housing bond, the largest


“Whatever your language, whatever your race, whatever your documentation status, we embrace you, we will have you, we love you.” bond ever in North Carolina history. It was approved at the end of 2019, with 83 percent of the vote. Schewel describes his advocacy for the bond as an exercise in building consensus over time, a skill he honed during his stint on the school board. Patience and persistence, he says, lead to results. “Before we tried to get it passed, we built up to it. We first had a penny for housing on the tax rate, and then two cents on housing on the tax rate,” Schewel says. “We were able to start building affordable housing in our community and supporting our nonprofits.” Schewel has built relationships with multiple political groups within Durham in order to solidify support for his policies and to facilitate hard conversations. Even critics of progressive policy, such as the right-leaning Friends of Durham PAC, think he’s run the city well, according to David Smith, the PAC’s secretary and past chair. The prominent People’s Alliance PAC is another such group that’s worked closely with Schewel. “He brought some measure of harmonic effectiveness to the school board and to the council,” Milo Pyne, a coordinator for the PAC, told the INDY of Schewel’s skills as a mediator. “He has this unique ability to bring people together under a common goal.” Wendy Jacobs, chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners until last year, is one of Schewel’s close partners. The two worked together on multiple joint city-county efforts, including creating an eviction diversion program and a rental assistance program, signing the Paris Accords to end HIV/Aids, creating a joint City-County Youth Services Department, and a joint Confederate Monument Commission back in 2017. “People have needs and problems and issues that the government needs to address and people frankly don’t really care if it’s the city or county that gets it done. They just need it to get done,” Jacobs says. “Because of the collaboration, we’ve been able to do some really transformative work together.”

In tandem with these highs, though, Schewel experienced his fair share of disappointments. Schewel knew upon his entry into this office that Durham’s public transit system leaves much to be desired. Soon into his mayorship, Durham received a blow: the official death of the light rail project. In April 2019, the county commissioners unanimously voted to discontinue work on the Durham-Orange Light Rail line, following a recommendation from GoTriangle, the transit agency spearheading the $2.47 billion project, after it was clear that major stakeholders, including the state and Duke University, wouldn’t be on board. By the time Schewel entered office, the light rail project, which would have connected Durham and Orange counties via a two-mile rail corridor, had been in development for almost 20 years. Schewel spent a year in office trying to salvage what he could but to no avail. “It was a personal disappointment for me,” Schewel says.“But more than that, it’s a disappointment for our community; we need to have this. Now we’re back on the drawing boards, we’re considering a commuter rail system and other kinds of regional transit.” Schewel has also seen gun violence rise within the past year, mirroring national trends. Though shootings in Durham reached a historic low, with only 189 people shot in 2019, the numbers rose to 319 in 2020. “Every time a bullet hits someone, it goes not only into their body, but it hurts their family, their, their neighborhood, our whole community,” Schewel says. “And it’s critically important that we do everything we can to stop it.” Schewel says he and the other council members are continuously looking for ways to mitigate this crisis, and that a mix of good policing, mental health programs, and alternative responses are key. Though he has made some strides, Schewel says it will be up to the next mayor to continue the fight.

July 7th–11th

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Unprecedented Struggles While crime, transit, and housing are generally typical issues within the realm of what city mayors can expect to deal with, one of the greatest challenges that Schewel faced while in office—the COVID-19 pandemic, an international public health crisis—was decidedly not. Schewel’s response to the pandemic broke new ground for the mayor’s role. For many years, the job had been primarily ceremonial: cutting ribbons, speaking at churches and religious festivals, showing face in support of community events. But in the last year, Schewel had to make serious decisions around controlling the spread of the virus. He points specifically to Friday, March 13. Much of the country was beginning to shut down, and cases were cropping up across the state, but the Durham Performing Arts Center was still set to host a live show of Les Misérables. With little guidance from the state and other regional governments, and without consulting the Durham City Council, Schewel made the executive decision to shut down the show. He declared a state of emergency at 5 p.m. that day, and by the next month, Durham became the first city in North Carolina with a mask mandate. For many Durhamites, Schewel’s forceful response was a positive. He received support on social media, and his partnership with members of the county’s board of commissioners grew stronger. For some, though, Schewel’s grip on the city felt like an attack on their freedom. Hate mail was a regular occurrence throughout 2020. Schewel recalls a moment when he was in the middle of his regular walk on the American Tobacco Trail; a man running past him yelled, “You little dictator.” “What really hurt was that they called me little,” Schewel quips with a smirk. Schewel says it was hard to know what to do in the pandemic’s early days, but, he says, he knows where his priorities lie: with the people of Durham, and their safety and prosperity. This isn’t all to say, though, that Schewel isn’t aware of his mistakes in office. On the contrary: when asked if he can think of times he has made mistakes while in office, or about any regrets he has, he says he can’t think of just one example. “It happens all the time,” he says. Before coronavirus was ever here, whether it was a development he voted for or voted against, or a rezoning he approved that he’s come to regret, these moments happen. But, it’s less about the mistakes, Schewel says, and more about how to deal with them after. 8

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Steve Schewel celebrates during the victory party for his election to the Durham County School Board in 2004. PHOTO BY JENNY WARBURG “You have to just pick yourself up and soldier on,” he advises. “Be transparent about your mistakes. You’ve got to be able to admit them, and then you’ve got to move on.”

Looking Forward This last year was painful in ways that go beyond the pandemic, however, and it’s difficult to gauge how much newly inflamed tensions over racial justice and police brutality contributed to Schewel’s decision to move on. When asked about these issues, and the accelerating gentrification that has contributed to anger and bitterness directed at politicians who are seen to exemplify the status quo, Schewel demurs. He points to the diversity of the members of the city council who, though they have their differences, are united in a common vision for Durham. “My view is, you just have to be a good person, and let the chips fall where they may,” Schewel says. In January, Judge Elaine O’Neal announced her intention to run for mayor of Durham. Her run represents a new era for Durham politics. “I’m a Black woman from Durham,” she told the INDY of her decision. “That’s my perspective, and it’s a perspective we don’t see much. And then there’s also my perspective from the bench.” If Schewel had decided to run again, it would have pit two popular, highly qualified, progressive candidates against one anoth-

er, and potentially divided the city further along racial lines. A similar racially divisive scenario in Durham government already played out this year, when white members of Durham County’s Board of Commissioners voted to oust Wendell Davis, the county’s former manager, who is Black. O’Neal is loath to criticize Schewel but she says she has seen a fragmentation among Durhamhites, one that’s grown over the course of her adulthood. She speaks of a community groundedness that she grew up with, that supported her through her education and law practice. She says she fears now that not everyone in Durham feels that same love and connection that she has, and some of those fears have been confirmed by young people she’s spoken to. Still, she’s quick to tell me, she thinks it’s not her job to definitively judge how others have led the city. It’s not about cutting out old voices, but about including new ones. “It’s gonna take a lot of people to know what Durham needs, and not just pointing fingers,” O’Neal says. “The more people we can include, the better, and that’s why I felt the need to step up.” As he prepares to leave office, Schewel’s immediate goal is to see the city budget implemented for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. As he discusses the new city budget, Schewel’s eyes grow animated. He waves his arms to describe the broad changes that are expected, and he smiles, repeating how “fantastic” it is. The budget creates a new Community Safety Department in Durham, an alter-

native to police response to crisis intervention. It will also work to provide legal funds for lawyers to support undocumented residents, and allocate tax revenues towards green and equitable infrastructure, new sidewalks, and bus shelters, especially in historically Black neighborhoods. And 2019’s affordable housing bond will see its initial implementation, with funds aimed at eviction diversion work through legal aid as the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of July. On that point, Schewel is apprehensive. Though the city just received an additional $10 million in aid for rent relief from the federal American Rescue Plan, he hopes the continued federal assistance, the city’s efforts, and the city-county eviction diversion program will be enough to help hundreds of families stay in their homes. On a broader scale, Schewel knows that Durham is still struggling with many of the same issues it was upon his entering office. Durham is still without a regional transit system. Despite affordable housing work, gentrification is still a major problem within the city, especially post-pandemic. And, as the vaccine rollout continues, vaccine equity and herd immunity issues are still at the forefront. County Commissioner Jacobs calls Schewel’s exit “bittersweet.’’ Though she says she wishes he could continue in his role and see through all he has proposed for the city, the two have built a deep friendship through working together, and she is excited for his new role as grandpa. “This moment is certainly well deserved,” Jacobs says. “Honestly, it’s been the highlight of my life to work with him. He’s a mentor to me.” Currently, O’Neal looks to be the frontrunner to follow in Schewel’s footsteps. And whoever assumes the role will have their work cut out for them. But Schewel reiterates that he is ready to move on, and is confident in the city’s ability to progress. At the end of an exhausting year leading the city through the pandemic, and as he enters his 70s and prepares to meet his first grandchild, Schewel says he is ready to leave his post and embark on new adventures. If the city and country weren’t headed towards the back end of this pandemic, Schewel says, he wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving. As it stands, he knows he’s leaving the city in capable hands. “There are still things to be done, of course, but Durham is 152 years old, so that will never cease,” Schewel says. “There’s a new generation of leadership headed our way.” W


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North Carolina Voters wait in long lines at a polling station at North Carolina Central University on the first day of early voting for the 2020 General Election PHOTO BY JADE WILSON

The Counter Effect Republican voting restrictions designed to limit Democratic turnout could ultimately backfire. BY THOMASI MCDONALD tmcdonald@indyweek.com

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epublican lawmakers have proposed more than 300 voter restrictions in 40 statehouses since last November, but those measures to limit Democratic turnout may ultimately backfire, a Duke University political scientist says. The premise that expanding voting access helps Democrats and restricting access helps Republicans is “a fundamental mistake,” D. Sunshine Hillygus, a Sanford School of Public Policy professor specializing in voting behavior, said during a virtual media briefing last week. “The assumption seems to be that if you make voting easier, it’s going to inevitably benefit Democrats. That

simply isn’t always the case,” Hillygus said. “When you make registration and voting easier, what you tend to do is expand the pool to reach people who are somewhat less partisan, somewhat less activist. The lower-propensity voter. They are far more difficult to predict how they are going to vote and far more likely to be the type to change their partisan leanings, their voting, from one election to the next.” There’s also the possibility that restrictive laws will backfire by mobilizing voters who feel targeted by what they view as voter suppression. “This should be of concern to Republicans, the extent to which these actions really help to put the fire under

folks like Stacey Abrams and others, and serves as a bit of a rallying cry,” she said. The proposed voter restriction laws in statehouses across the country follow a presidential election cycle that witnessed one of the largest voter turnouts in American history, with people of color and young voters providing decisive margins that turned Donald Trump into a one-term occupant of the White House and awarded U.S. Senate seats to Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in what was once reliably red Georgia. The fuel for the proposed voter restrictions is the GOP’s response to the former White House occupant’s Big Lie—that he was robbed of a second term because of voter fraud. Hillygus said it’s pretty clear that people of color will be most affected by voting laws such as requiring voter IDs and curbing early voting on Sundays, which is supported by a significant number of Black church congregations. But she also pointed to the last election cycle in which pundits wrongly assumed that all Hispanics would vote the same way. “What we will see is that absolutely communities of color are disproportionately affected,” she said. “But the impact on the partisan advantage or disadvantage— because other groups are also impacted—is far less clear.” Hillygus also thinks young voters are among the groups most likely to be impacted by roadblocks to voter participation. In response to GOP attempts to curtail ballot access, congressional Democrats have pushed for passage of H.R. 1 - For the People Act of 2021, an expansive overhaul to election laws, redistricting, campaign finance, and ethics rules. Provisions include expanding voter registration through automatic and same-day registration, providing greater voting access through vote-by-mail and early voting, and requiring states to establish independent redistricting commissions. Senate Republicans once again demonstrated that they believe Black votes don’t matter when they blocked a vote on the bill last week with a filibuster that effectively kills the legislation. Hillygus said that, short of federal intervention, the voter restriction measures passing in statehouses should give pause to all Americans. “It’s very hard for the U.S. to claim that we have a stable and healthy democracy in light of this wave of efforts to change the rules of voting.” W INDYweek.com

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North Carolina

(Slow) Winds of Change As Pride Month wraps, we take a look at the landscape for LGBTQ+ people in North Carolina. BY JASMINE GALLUP backtalk@indyweek.com

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fter years of verbal attacks, disrespect, and misgendering, mechanic Jay Jones is nearly ready to quit the auto industry for good. “I’ve spent so many nights driving home after work, bawling my eyes out from stress, and feeling unheard,” says Jones, who is a transgender man. “It essentially came down to, ‘How much energy can I really spend on educating people who only see me as a negative?’” Jones’s experience isn’t uncommon in North Carolina. Across the state, LGBTQ activists are still entrenched in a battle to win one of the oldest and most basic rights in the United States—the right to live one’s life without facing discrimination. But as advocates fight for equality and resist antiLGBTQ laws passed by the state legislature, the world around them has become more tolerant, accepting, and loving of people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

The battle for equality One of the biggest issues LGBTQ activists are tackling this year is the lack of a statewide nondiscrimination policy. North Carolina is one of 27 states in which discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is not prohibited. That means when it comes to buying a house, getting a bank loan, seeing a doctor, or playing on a high school sports team, there are no legal protections for LGBTQ people. While public employees have some legal options, private employees cannot sue for discrimination. 10

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For Jones, it means being a little more hesitant to report discrimination to Human Resources. Jones’ current company has a strict nondiscrimination policy, but in other places, “I’ve had instances of going to HR and getting a whole lotta nothing back, in terms of results,” he says. Jones is “non-passing,” he says, which means when people look at him, they might see him as a different gender. He started working as a mechanic in his current position about three months ago, and since then, the issues with his manager have been “non-stop,” he says. After months of being misgendered, Jones decided to take a transfer and start work at a different company location. But he isn’t hopeful about his next work environment being much better. If his next job doesn’t work out, he plans to quit his career for good. “If it is different, that’d be amazing. But I’m already throwing in the towel that it will be the same,” Jones says. “My dad is a technician, so he does trade work too, and it came down to, ‘We want you to succeed, but if your mental health is suffering, leave.’”

An ongoing fight North Carolina is slowly moving past its legacy of anti-LGBTQ legislation. This year, in the wake of the expiration of a law banning local anti-discrimination policies for the LGBTQ community, nine North Carolina cities approved such ordinances. Durham, Greensboro, and Chapel Hill are among those that now prohibit

Jay Jones

PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s a sign of progress for Kendra Johnson, executive director of Equality NC, whose nonprofit was a major part of the campaign lobbying for such legislation. Simply having a law prompts agencies to start collecting data on instances of discrimination, giving everyone a better sense of the problem, she told the INDY. Moreover, “it elevates the conversation about the realities that LGBTQ people live,” Johnson says, prompting a culture change. “It prompts all of these systems that LGBTQ people and other minorities have routinely been shut out of to evaluate how it is that they need to adapt in order to create welcoming and affirming environments.” In the state legislature, two anti-trans bills were introduced this session. The difference this year is that they haven’t gone anywhere. Both bills—one that sought to limit medical treatments for transgender people under age 21, and another that would

have prevented transgender people from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity—died in committee two months ago. Republican leaders have admitted that they don’t see paths forward for the bills, which Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would likely veto if they landed on his desk. Another reason for the death of such bills may be the backlash the legislature faced after it passed the infamous House Bill 2 in 2016. Also known as the bathroom bill, H.B. 2 prohibited transgender people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Five years ago, condemnation from North Carolinians and big companies forced a partial repeal of the law. Today, criticism is likely to be louder.

A changing world If nothing else, one thing that has changed in five years is public opinion. Nationwide, public support for LGBTQ rights is at an all-time high. In the U.S.,


76 percent of Americans support laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, according to a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute. Support for samesex marriage also broke records this year, with 70 percent of Americans and a majority of Republicans in support, according to a Gallup poll. One reason for the increased support may be an increase in the number of people willing to speak openly about their sexuality and gender identity. Since 2012, the number of Americans identifying as LGBTQ almost doubled, going from 3.5 percent to 5.6 percent, according to the Gallup poll. One in six adult members of Generation Z identify as something other than heterosexual, the Gallup report stated. Numbers may be even higher among people under age 18, who were not included in the poll. One such North Carolinian is 14-year-old Blaine Hedge, who is transgender. Blaine grew up in a conservative Christian household where being gay was not okay, he says. Since he came out, however, his parents have grown more open-minded. “I kind of changed their perspective,” Blaine says. “My dad used to be really transphobic, because he’s into psychology and neuroscience and that (being transgender) doesn’t fit.” When Blaine came out, his dad and mom were willing to learn, he says. They don’t always understand, but they’re supportive. “Coming out, they were just kind of like, ‘OK, you’re still our child.’ I’ve told them about my experiences,” Blaine says. “My dad says we’re all going on a journey and (with me) transitioning, we’ll see what happens.” Avery Burnette, 15, identifies as pansexual and nonbinary. Avery realized their orientation during quarantine and came out to their parents a few months ago, they said. Avery’s mother, Joy Burnette, wasn’t familiar with the words “pansexual” or “nonbinary,” she says, “but it made sense when they (Avery) explained it.” “It’s something we’re still working through,” says Avery’s dad, Daniel. For Johnson, who has been fighting to make LGBTQ voices heard for decades, seeing the next generation speak so openly about their gender and sexual orientation is encouraging. “The more people who come out, and the more people who you know are LGBTQ, (that) begins to change public opinion,” she says. “It’s harder to discriminate against your parent, your sibling, your aunt, your coworker that you love. You want them to enjoy equal rights.” W INDYweek.com

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Raleigh

Greenway Mystery Someone murdered a biker in broad daylight on Raleigh’s greenway last summer. Police are still looking for the killer. BY THOMASI MCDONALD tmcdonald@indyweek.com

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early a year has passed since an unknown assailant ambushed and fatally attacked a 57-year-old biker along the Raleigh greenway. Now, two months from the first anniversary of the brazen attack on Chauncey Weinkoop Depew, Jr., investigators hope that bringing the case back to the public spotlight will jog someone’s memory and lead to an arrest. So far, no one has been charged. The attack happened around noon on August 20 along Walnut Creek Trail near the 1800 block of South Saunders Street, where Depew was riding his Kona trail bike. The man known as “Chip” had recently become a grandfather, according to his obituary. “He was excited to share his many passions with his grandson, just as he had done with his children,” it reads. Frederick Lowe, Jr., a 39-year-old JetBlue pilot, was biking along the trail when he happened upon Depew shortly after noon and called 911. Lowe told the INDY that he was riding eastbound on the trail, heading down a descending turn, when he first saw Depew’s bike and blood on the ground. Depew was also on the ground, a short distance away. “I ran over and asked him, ‘Hey buddy, are you OK?’” Lowe said. “He was conscious and making inaudible noises.” Lowe said Depew’s head was bloodied, and there were scuff marks and blood all over his body. The airline pilot, who rode the trail once or twice a week at the height of the pandemic, said he first thought Depew had 12

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taken a nasty fall, owing to a blind spot on the descending turn that gives way to a four-foot retaining wall. “I thought he had wiped out in the turn and hit the wall,” Lowe said. “Nothing stuck out to show that he was attacked.” Lowe said a Raleigh detective contacted him a couple of hours later and told him the wounds inflicted on Depew’s body indicated he was attacked. Lowe noted that the greenway is a place often frequented by families with children, and he’s grateful that he found him—not someone riding the trail with young ones. “I wouldn’t want little kids to come across what I saw,” he said. Paramedics rushed Depew to WakeMed hospital, where he later died of his injuries. Days after Depew’s death, members of the Raleigh City Council rejected a police department request for a new parks and greenways patrol unit that would have begun this year. The request called for six dedicated officers and a sergeant to supervise the unit at a cost of just under $580,000. The request for a dedicated police presence along the greenway system was granted earlier this month, however, when the city council, by a 6-2 vote, approved a nearly $5 million increase in the police department’s budget that included funding for a greenway patrol team. On August 30, about 130 cyclists with Oaks & Spokes, a biking advocacy group, held a memorial ride in Depew’s honor. The cyclists gathered at Dorothea Dix Park to begin the six-mile ride, which included a stop at the place where Depew was attacked.

Walnut Creek Trail

PHOTO COURTESY OF RALEIGHNC.GOV

Jennifer Wagner, chair of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Greenways Advisory Board, told the INDY in an email that even though Depew’s slaying was an isolated incident, the city council asked her board, along with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, to “confer and offer a safety review and report on the greenway system late last year due to [the Depew attack] and other concerns.” Wagner said the discussions resulted in recommendations covering trail safety, maintenance, and wayfinding signage, and those recommendations were approved by her board on June 17. “Crime, as well as collisions and other potential hazards on the greenway, were discussed,” wrote Wagner, who added that the police department was also involved in the meetings and that officers offered insight into safety and best practices. “With [the] city council’s decision to add seven officers specifically to parks and greenways, we hope police presence will increase on greenways,” Wagner said. “In addition, there are greenway volunteers who monitor

activity and safety on the greenway. This program was less involved during Covid-19, but is picking back up again and they are always looking for volunteers.” Attempts to reach Depew’s family members for comment this week were unsuccessful. According to his obituary, Depew was born in Tucker, Georgia, graduated from the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, and worked in the engineering field for over two decades. The obituary notes that “Chip was admired for his ability to live in the moment and encouraged everyone to live life to the fullest. He will always be remembered for his brilliant mind, inquisitive spirit, and willingness to lend an ear and give advice.” Raleigh police spokeswoman Donna-maria Harris told the INDY that the investigation of Depew’s slaying continues, and police are urging anyone with information that might assist the investigation to contact Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-HELP or by visiting RaleighCrimeStoppers.org.W



Sustainable Beer in Support of Eno Watershed Preservation North Coast Brewing Company, an independent craft brewery, produces sustainably crafted beers in Fort Bragg, California, where it was founded over 30 years ago.

Mark Ruedrich, chairman and co-founder of North Coast Brewing, has deep family connections to the Triangle, which inspired the brewery’s support of local nonprofits, including the Eno River Association. As a Certified B Corp - which documents using the power of business as a force for good - North Coast Brewing passionately supports the preservation of the natural, hisorical, and cultural resources of the Eno watershed. North Coast Brewing is also Platinum True Zero Waste certified with over 98% of its waste diverted from the landfill. North Coast Brewing also supports marine mammal research and rescue with their special North Coast Steller IPA, music education with Brother Thelonious Abbey Ale, and an endowment to the UC Davis Master Brewers Program for the Mark E. Ruedrich North Coast Brewing Diversity Scholarship. “We are proud to offer our support to this exceptional place and are thrilled at the chance to share our beers with the like-minded community of the Eno River Association.“ – Mark Ruedrich, North Coast Brewing Company

M A K I N G T H E W O R L D A B E T T E R P L A C E , O N E P I N T AT A T I M E


When the Eno River Association protects a piece of land, we pledge to safeguard that land

FOREVER.. FOREVER

Established in 1966, the Eno River Association works to protect and restore exceptional places that provide our region with clean water and healthy forests, wildlife and natural areas, and open space. 7,500 ACRES

159 YOUTH

of land protected for the benefit of current and future generations

educated each year through our two summer camps lead by accredited educators

2,500 PEOPLE

42 YEARS

growing their Eno knowledge through nature programs, guided hikes, and volunteer service annually

of the Festival for the Eno, celebrating culture and community to protect the Eno River

6 PARKS

45 MILES

created for us to explore

of streams protected from pollution Join. Volunteer. Protect. www.enoriver.org


History in the Making In 1972 the Eno River Association formed an alliance with the Nature Conservancy, and presented to the North Carolina Board of Conservation and Development their case for preserving the Eno River. As a result, the Board of the Nature Conservancy and its State Parks Committee endorsed acquiring property along the river for a state park. Through a cooperative effort between the City of Durham, Orange County, the State of North Carolina, the Nature Conservancy, and the Eno River Association, on June 15, 1973, Governor James Holshouser welcomed the Eno River State Park into the NC State Parks system. The Association’s relationship with Eno River State Park did not end with this historical accomplishment. The Association has since been instrumental in the land protection efforts for the 4,500-acre park. One of our primary initiatives is to complete the park’s master plan, which still has roughly 2,000 acres remaining to conserve. We have the opportunity - RIGHT NOW - to add 110+ acres to Eno River State Park. This week, all donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 - doubling your impact and helping ensure we can move this project forward. Visit www.enoriver.org/donate to learn more and help us make history. Park visitation nearly doubled in 2020, and as our population continues to increase, we expect this number to continue to rise. The more land area we have in the park, the more land that will be available for ALL PEOPLE to seek solace and enjoyment.

The Eno River Association pledges to safeguard lands forever The Festival for the Eno is back! After a covid-induced hiatus in 2020, we are THRILLED to welcome you back to CELEBRATE and PROTECT the Eno! The Eno River Association has worked year-round since 1966 to conserve and protect the natural, historical, and cultural resources in our river basin, and the gem of our community outreach is the annual FESTIVAL FOR THE ENO. ENO The Festival brings us together on the Eno to celebrate our community’s culture, history, arts, food, music, and more – all to PROTECT THE ENO. ENO Buying a Festival ticket is a first step in this effort! For 42 years we have presented the Festival for the Eno to raise awareness and build support for the protection of the Eno. Your gifts beyond purchasing your Festival tickets are the next step in supporting the Eno waters and wilderness you love – please consider making a membership gift, participating in the online Silent Auction, or buying a Raffle ticket (or all three)! Donations made at the Festival will help the Eno River Association add 110+ acres to Eno River State Park in 2021. Protecting an additional 110 ACRES this year comes on the heels of record-setting crowds in our parks and natural areas during the pandemic. 2020 showed us that ACCESSIBLE OUTDOOR SPACES ARE VITAL to the physical and mental health of our community. The Eno River Association PERMANENTLY PROTECTS land in the Eno River basin to safeguard water quality, forests, wildlife habitat, and working lands, while ensuring public access to high quality natural areas, and educating our next generation of environmental stewards. Since 1966, we have protected 7,500 acres of land, and nearly 6,000 acres of these are available to explore in the SIX PUBLIC PARKS we have helped create: Eno River State Park, Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, West Point on the Eno Durham City Park, Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve, Little River Regional Park, and the Eno’s Confluence Natural Area. Celebrate with us at the Festival & join the Eno River Association YEAR ROUND in this effort! Our work continues beyond the Festival. There are nearly 2,000 acres left to be conserved for Eno River State Park, and nearly 75,000 acres of land with potential for protection in the Eno River basin. We plan to open more preserves to the public for recreation and respite, to build trails to ensure you can safely enjoy the wilderness, and to connect wildlands for wildlife corridors. We cannot do this invaluable work for FUTURE GENERATIONS without your support. Visit WWW.ENOFEST.ORG/DONATE to learn more or text ENO RIVER to 855-924-3150 to make a gift!


UNDER THE BIG TOP The Big Top is Festival HQ for all things Eno, and your purchases support our conservation efforts. Tee Shirts are available in a variety of colors, sizes and styles! Including NEW tee shirts featuring the Eastern Box Turtle (design by Chris Williams) and the Alligator Snapping Turtle (design based on papercut by Jan Berger). PLUS reprints of popular designs including: the Pileated Woodpecker, the Southeastern Five-Lined Skink, and the Eastern Firefly Hats, infant onesies, bandanas, pet leashes, journals, posters and more are also available.

HELP PROTECT THE ENO! WIN PRIZES! GO ON AN ADVENTURE! Flavors of the Festival Online Silent Auction

Back by popular demand, we’re offering an online Silent Auction with dozens of items and experiences that highlight the nature, history, and culture of our Eno community -- and beyond. You don’t need to be present to win! Online Auction Runs July 2 - July 4 at 8pm www.enofest.org • Click on Silent Auction

Confluence Concert with Mary Rocap Our Confluence Natural Area isn’t open for event rentals yet, but you and 15 friends can enjoy a performance by folk artist Mary Rocap, accompanied by BBQ & sides from Blue Note Grill and a keg of your hoice from TOPO Brewery. Or, bid on an Evening Under the Stars at the Confluence with a wine tasting provided by DB Sutton Wine Co, hors d’oeuvres by Saladelia, and star gazing, swift spotting, or bat surveys hosted by our education team.

6 nights at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge, South Africa Take your outdoor adventures up a notch with a 6-night stay, with 3 meals & 2 game viewing activities per day. The winner will have 3 years to book this package valued at nearly $6,000. Airfare, transfers, and drinks not included.

Duke Men’s Basketball Tickets

New West Point Mill Art Print by Durham’s own Joe Liles. This, seven-color, silk-screen was designed, and each layer hand-drawn by Joe Liles. A limited-edition printing of 250 copies will be produced - each print hand pulled by Raleigh printmaker Skillet Gilmore and signed and numbered by the artist.

For Coach K’s final season, you’ll get two seats in section 4, diagonally behind the Duke bench. Select from a choice of 3 ACC home games. Plus, receive a $50 gift card for concessions or gear at the Team Store.

Early Bird(er) Eno Tour

Eno education volunteer and longtime birder, Tom Driscoll will take you and up to 7 of your friends on a personal birding tour on the Eno. Since the early bird catches the worm, you’ll also receive a gift card to Monuts to fuel you up before your journey. Plus beautiful art from our Festival Artists, stays at downtown hotels, services, gift cards, dining, and one-of-a-kind experiences you can’t get anywhere else!

BONUS: Live Raffle Join us in person at West Point on the Eno for dozens of raffle prizes, including beautiful artwork generously donated by our Festival Artists, plus gift cards and giveaways from many local businesses. Eno River Association members will receive a free in-person raffle ticket. Learn more at www.enofest.org/raffle.

Looking for CDs from our wonderful performers? Visit the High Strung music Center in front of the Beer Garden!

Special thanks to ALoft Hotel, Blue Note Grill, DB Sutton Wine Co, Horse & Buggy Press, Joe Liles, Kingfisher, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Origin Hotel Raleigh, Chris & Kelly O’Toole, Publix, Ken & Ellen Reckhow, REI Durham, Saladelia Catering, TOPO Brewery, Triangle Fly Fishers, Unscripted Hotel, and all of our wonderful auction & raffle donors.


Saturday, JULY 3rd GROVE 10:00 10:45 11:30 12:30 1:15

2:15 3:30 4:45

Magic Tuber String Band Cane Creek Cloggers Bluegrass Experience Lightnin’ Wells Tribute to John Dee Holeman with Jon Shain, Armand Lenchek, Lightnin’ Wells, & Charlie Ward Jake Xerxes Fussell Chessa Rich Zack Mexico

MEADOW 10:00 10:45 11:45 12:30 1:30 2:30 3:45 5:00

Leah Magner Dwight Hawkins Tea Cup Gin Fust SE Ward Rissi Palmer Sarah Shook & The Disarmers C. Albert Blomquist

RIVER STAGE 10:00 10:45 11:30 12:30 1:15 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00

Holland Brothers Nikki Meets the Hibachi Cajammers Dwight Hawkins Magic Tuber String Band Eno Islanders Earleine Jenny Besetzt Sluice

CHIMNEY STAGE 11:30 12:15 1:15 2:00 2:45 3:15 4:00

Eno Journal Contributors Nikki Meets the Hibachi Holland Brothers Walter Miller Michael Daughtry Tokyo Rosenthal Timothy Smith

Sunday, JULY 4th GROVE 10:00 10:45 11:30 12:15 1:00 2:00 2:45 3:45 5:00

Wyatt Easterling Apple Chill Cloggers Simon Dunson Trio Josh Kimbrough Lonnie Walker Jon Shain & FJ Ventre Curtis Eller’s American Circus Blue Cactus Coconut Cake

MEADOW 10:00 10:30 11:15 12:15 12:30 1:45 2:45 4:00 5:15

WarPaint Dancers Honey Magpie Javier Montano Eno River Presentation African American Dance Ensemble Sonny Miles The HamilTones Pastor Shirley Caesar Dreamroot

RIVER STAGE 10:00 11:00 11:45 12:30 1:30 2:45 3:45 5:00

Donnybrook Lads WarPaint Dancers Jenna Smith Wes Tirey The Tan & Sober Gentlemen Mellow Swells Reliably Bad Fruit Snack

CHIMNEY STAGE 11:30 12:15 1:15 2:00 2:45 3:15 4:00

Eno Journal Contributors Honey Magpie Simon Dunson Duo Harold Morton and Palma Sharp Stevan Jackson Kirby Heard Joe Hooten (Tin Roof Echo)


Artist Highlights

Shirley Caesar

Durham native Shirley Caesar, the “First Lady of Gospel Music”, has had an incredible career spanning more than 40 critically acclaimed albums. Her list of awards (too long to list in full here) includes 12 Grammys (including being honored with The Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award), 14 Stellar Awards, 18 Doves, a RIAA certified gold record, and the list goes on and on. See the Gospel Legend July 4 at 4pm on the Meadow Stage. The Hamiltones

The trio of North Carolina natives started as background vocalist for Grammy winning soul singer Anthony Hamilton. What the Hamiltones have evolved into since then is a new sound with an old vibe, which they call “Young Vintage”. The exceptionally talented trio of background singers have come to the fore in their own right with a series of viral videos, late night TV appearances and their own dynamic and uplifting live shows. See the Hamiltones July 4 at 2:45pm on the Meadow Stage.

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers

North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Writing with a blunt urgency—so refreshing these days it’s almost startling—Sarah’s lyrics are in turn smart, funny, mean, and above all, uncompromising. The Disarmers hit all the sweet spots from Nashville’s Lower Broad to Bakersfield and take Sarah’s unflinching tales out for some late-night kicks. See Sarah Shook & the Disarmers July 3 at 3:45pm on the Meadow Stage. Jake Xerxes Fussell

Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell is a master interpolator of folksongs. His renditions stay true to each song’s intent and spirit while unearthing the cosmic vibes hidden below the cracks and pops of the original recordings. See Jake Xerxes Fussell July 3 at 2:15 pm on the Grove Stage.

Blue Cactus

The North Carolina duo of Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez make Cosmic Americana: a blend of grit, glitz, groove, and twang that evokes a celestial soundscape of mid-century heartbreak. See the Blue Cactus July 4 at 3:45pm on the Grove Stage. Coconut Cake

Led by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Michael Libramento, this Asheville, NC based ensemble pays enthusiastic tribute to Congo’s great dance bands and pioneers of African rumba. See Coconut Cake July 4 at 5:00 pm on the Grove Stage. Sluice

Durham based songwriter Justin Morris dives in the same sonic oceans that proved so fruitful for 90s Drag City acts such as Bill Callahan and Palace Music. Sluice’s self-titled album is one of the most promising local debuts in recent memory. See Sluice July 3 at 5:00 pm on the River Stage.

Activity and Demo Schedule 10am-6pm each day

Backyard veggies and home farming - Durham Master Gardeners Booth 39 Beekeeping observation hive - Beekeeper’s Associations of Chatham, Durham, and Hoke counties Booth 94 Caricature drawings - Charlotte Runde Booth 120 Carnivorous Plants! Where, why, how? - Duke Gardens Booth 81 Drunk Driving simulation - Durham Co Sheriffs Booth 45 Dung Beetle Races!!!! and coloring handouts - NC State Parks Booth Under the Big Top Fairy Hair Flair Booth 42 Henna Painting Booth 20 Kayak Rentals and Demos - Frog Hollow Outdoors Booth 84 (Saturday Only) Learn to Play Ukulele Workshops - High Strung Music Booth 41 Mist area - Alternative Aire/Amana below the Meadow Stage Musical Marvels and Instrumental Oddities - High Strung Music Booth 41 Reptiles & Amphibians - NC Herpetological Society Booth 80 Solar energy demos - NC Solar Now Booth 74 Streamside Habitat, Macroinvertabrates and more - EEEK! Eno River Theremin Musical Instrument Demos - High Strung Music Booth 41 Noon- 5pm each Day

50 years of Eno River Calendars - Eno River Association Mangum Photo Museum Noon Sunday Only

Pack House/ Hugh

Wheat and corn grinding Historic West Point Mill Puppet parade - Paperhand Puppet Intervention behind the River Stage


15% OFF SERVICE

Crafts at the Festival If you’re familiar with the Festival for the Eno, you’ve probably heard about the amazing collection of artisans that come to show their work every year. Limited regionally to artists hailing from the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia the show is juried and selective. A wide variety of traditional and contemporary crafts is on display and the artists are very happy to talk with you about their work and techniques. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2019 FESTIVAL FOR THE ENO CRAFT AWARD WINNERS Best in Show Luis Enrique Gutierrez/NICA Ceramic Art Booth 30

*Show coupon at dealership to redeem offer. *Call (919) 354-7767 to schedule appointment. *Offer valid through 12/31/2021. *Maximum discount of $150.

Best 2D Deb Pagliughi/DP Fine Art Best 3D Travis Cohn/Reptire Designs

Booth 8 Booth 77

CRAFTS AND EXHIBITORS SEE BACK PAGE FOR MAP. 32 23 4 51 78 71 10 16 15 52 3 28 70 8 76 45 75 19 Map 46 63 49 39 42 27 33 Big Top 79 River 40 56 20 58 60 41 29 72 73 62 53 13 18

AdaArt Jewelry Andria Linn Fine Art Painting Ask the Trees Wood B&C Boards and more Wood Bike Durham Bobbi Joe Wire Jewelry Botanical Legacy Prints Printmaking Brian Merg Metals Metal Calico Creates Jewelry CopperTide Contemporary Enamel Jewelry Curtis Krueger Photography D Michael Meinders Art Painting Delores Pottery DP Fine Art Mixed Media Duke Healthcare Preparedness Coalition Durham Co Sheriff’s Office Durham Parks Foundation Easy Street Leather, Etc. EEEK Eno Advocacy Eno Animal Hospital Eno Land and Stewardship Extension Master Gardener Fairy Hair Flare Forested Way Wood Frances and Me Textiles Friends of State Parks Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Frog Hollow Outdoors Garry Childs Pottery Gilded Lily Glass Jewelry Gopi Arts/Krishna’s Henna Hanancrafts Wood Hendrick Subaru High Strung Music HollowCompass Found Objects Illustration by Charlotte Runde Caricatures Impulsive Creativity Jewelry Indyweek Kahlilascope Stained Glass Kathleen Master Designs Mixed Media Kathy Whitley Pottery

6 21 Map 17 54 26 24 Map 35 43 82 61 Big Top 58 30 38 80 37 Map 12 55 Big Top 9 77 34 81 57 7 11 64 59 22 Big Top 36 83 25 2 31 Map 14 65 5

Kelly Wove It Fiber Kimberley Pierce Cartwright Fiber Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department Left Behind, photography by Kyle Wilson LH Jewelry Design Living Traditions Pottery Mattox Knives Mill Mostly Pastels NC Compost Council NC Museum of Life and Sciences NC Solar Now NC State Parks New South Pattern House Hand Pulled Block Prints NICA Ceramic Art Nnamdi Batik Art Clothing North Carolina Herpetological Society Origami2Go Photo Museum Pickle Pie Pottery Piedmont ClayWorks Pottery Posters Rachel Smith Pottery Reptire Designs Mixed Media River Swirl Mosaics Mosaics Sarah P. Duke Gardens Sarah’s House of Clay Seasaw Crafts Fiber Sissoko Art & Sculpture Scrap Metal Sculptures Southern Energy Management Stoned Beautiful Jewelry Talulah Jewelry Tee Shirts Terry Massey Casting the Farm Church Thistle Ridge Soap Unique Batik Clothing VKitty Knitty Clothing WayCool Spot White Oak Pottery Zarazua Painting ZenJumps Chainmaille Jewelry


WE THANK ALL OF THE SPONSORS WHO ARE MAKING THE 2021 FESTIVAL FOR THE ENO TRULY MEMORABLE AND SUCCESSFUL Because of their generosity and devotion to our cause, we are taking another huge leap foward in raising funds and awareness that will protect the Eno River, expand access to public parks, and provide STEM-based enviornmental education programs to thousands of children each year.

TITLE SPONSOR

TRAIL HEAD SPONSORS

RIVER RAPIDS SPONSORS HEADWATER SPONSOR

FRIENDS OF THE FESTIVAL FROG HOLLOW | PARIZADE | BEST RENT-ALL | DURHAM MAGAZINE | HIGH STRUNG | SUNROCK | EAST NEST OUTFITTERS



Meet Martha

She's the matriarch of the CT Wilson Construction family. She’s also a reason you attend the Festival for the Eno. See, Martha loved her community – she was an advocate for education and nature, and she took her passion, talent, and considerable smarts and put them to work to do things like protecting what is vulnerable. Martha was involved in saving the Eno long before it was fashionable – she didn’t plan on starting a revolution as a long-time volunteer and board member - she just did what she felt was right.

We carry her spirit forth every day in everything we do at CT Wilson Construction. Enjoy the festival, enjoy the Eno, enjoy the holiday. Like the things we build, we'll be here when you need us. Doing the right thing for 70 years.


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Raleigh

Rapid Strides The City of Raleigh hopes to address, along with a new Bus Rapid Transit route, issues with flooding, limited pedestrian and bike infrastructure, and an aging water system along the New Bern Avenue corridor. BY CARYL ESPINOZA JAEN backtalk@indyweek.com

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or more than a century, New Bern Avenue has served as the eastern gateway to Raleigh, and an upcoming bus route aims to revitalize the area. The New Bern Avenue corridor, which runs through one of the most vibrant areas in the City of Oaks, is home to historically Black neighborhoods founded in the early 20th century and currently coexisting with mid-century suburbs and new, modern apartment complexes. But that rich history, and rapid new growth, has come with a cost: much of New Bern Avenue faces flooding issues, a lack of pedestrian and bike infrastructure, and an almost century-old water system. The city hopes to also address these issues in tandem with the new bus route, said Jason Hardin, a senior planner with the city, during a Raleigh City Council meeting earlier this month. “It always, always makes sense, when any significant transportation or other public investment is planned, to think really closely about other impacts and how we can provide the biggest benefit possible,” Hardin said. “So, with a transit project, that means it really can increase access to opportunity, jobs, education.” The New Bern Avenue BRT corridor spans approximately 5.1 miles and is part of Wake County’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) initiative that was approved in 2016. The New Bern Avenue BRT route, which will connect key locations such as WakeMed hospital and a number of businesses to nearby neighborhoods and downtown Raleigh, is the eastern sector of the four major bus routes that are currently planned for and that will be constructed in the near future. But more is being added to New Bern

Avenue than just the new BRT infrastructure. Alongside the signature transit-only lanes west of the Beltline and stations that characterize the Wake BRT plan, the streets will also undergo revitalization. Sean Driskill, a roadway design engineer for the City of Raleigh, is overseeing the designs from engineering firm HNTB for the public transit project. In a conversation with the INDY, Driskill said the scope of the project includes renovating New Bern Avenue, with a separate transit-only lane set to be built between downtown Raleigh and Sunnybrook Road. Throughout the whole route, 19 BRT platforms will be built. “Some of our larger projects [require] a twoyear construction period and that’s what this one will fall into,” Driskill said. “That’s not only due to the length of the work but just the complexity as well regarding all the other stakeholders involved, like all the private utilities and relocation work.” Sidewalks, which are largely scattered and fragmented along New Bern Avenue, will also be implemented for pedestrians on the north side of New Bern Avenue. An asphalt multi-use path will be constructed on the south side of New Bern Avenue as a way to provide multimodal transportation options for residents. Driskill and Mila Vega, a planning supervisor at the City of Raleigh’s Transportation department, said the project will follow ADA guidelines to ensure that sidewalks and bus stops are ADA-accessible.

Split island BRT station on New Bern Ave. at Raleigh Blvd. “We went down to a level of detail,” Vega said. “If we have a station in the median, how easy is it to read the name of the station from a sidewalk when you cross? How easy is it to identify the station and see the information on it?” In coordination with the bus project, Raleigh Water will upgrade New Bern Avenue’s water and sewer pipelines, which were installed as far back as the 1890s. Eileen Navarrete, an engineering manager at Raleigh Water, said it’s a common practice for the city to integrate water and sewer replacements with engineering services and transportation projects. She emphasized that the area’s water and sewer infrastructure “has a lot of age and history on it as well.” The total budget for the project comes in at $72.5 million. Of that, $35 million is supported by a Federal Transit Administration grant, and the rest will largely be funded from the city’s property and sales tax revenues, according to Vega. Separately, the water and sewer pipeline renovations are projected to cost approximately $6.1 million. Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin added during the council meeting that $5.4 million was allocated to the New Bern Avenue BRT project from the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan. It is part

“A transit project really can increase access to opportunity, jobs, education.”

CITY OF RALEIGH

of a $250 million plan to fund transit projects across the country announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week. “This does not replace any funding we’re getting,” Baldwin said. “It’s an add-on that will assist us with our local match, so I just wanted to say how appreciative I am of the U.S. DOT [Department of Transportation] continuing their support of our projects.” The massive changes and renovations to New Bern Avenue haven’t been met without concerns. Roadway Design and Construction Manager Kenneth Ritchie said at the council meeting that designers were actively in contact with the First Baptist Church and other nearby residents after councilman Corey Branch had inquired as to whether the designers were making sure community impacts were being considered and minimized. Driskill told the INDY that, while the project is set to bring various large changes to the area—the biggest visible change being the transit-only median lanes and pedestrian improvements—designers are working to ensure that property impact is minimized. “We have more engagement because we have more stuff to present to these home [and business] owners,” Driskill said.“The next time we reach out, it’s going to be during pre-construction, so we’ll have a public pre-construction meeting sometime next year, and at that point, the City of Raleigh will go into more detail regarding the construction schedule, the possible sequence of construction activities, and what the traffic control is going to look like [during construction].”W INDYweek.com

June 30, 2021

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Surry County

Pepsi is Fine Surry County made national news for its commissioners’ conservative showmanship. This isn’t the first time that’s happened. BY SARA PEQUENO spequeno@indyweek.com

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few weeks ago, a girl who went to a high school near mine messaged me with a link to a video of a Surry County Board of Commissioners meeting.: “This is fucking terrible,” she wrote. The May 17 video picks up an hour and a half in, when the commissioners —all white men—start talking about how they don’t want money for the public schools in the district to go toward diversity and equity training. “This counter-culture wokeism, left-leaning liberal Marxism and the new America that’s trying to be formed—I’m telling you, folks can’t hide from this,” Commissioner Van Tucker says. Ten minutes later, Commissioner Eddie Harris proposes that the group create “grassroots change” by removing the 12 Coca-Cola vending machines that operate in county offices to protest the soda company’s statement against a law in Georgia that would make absentee voting harder and prevent folks from handing out water as people wait in line at the polls. The board, in a 3-2 vote, decides to remove the machines. Harris acknowledges that they get their products from a local Coca-Cola distributor, who could ultimately bear the weight of this decision, but says “Coca-Cola needs to pay the price.” Turns out, this piece of political theater did ultimately hurt only the 37 people who work at Surry County’s Coca-Cola bottling plant, and Coca-Cola Consolidated, its parent company in Charlotte. The global soft drink behemoth didn’t even begin to feel the effects of a boycott in a North Carolina county with a population of less than 72,000. “We have absolutely no control over their opinions or statements about any 14

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issue, and we don’t do any business in the state of Georgia,” Alison Patient, vice president of government affairs of the Charlotte-based bottling company, told the commissioners June 7. “My company, Coca-Cola Consolidated, has a policy to only speak out on public policy issues that directly relate to our business, like this one tonight.” It took three days for The Mount Airy News to write a story on the commissioners’ decision; a few days later, I got that DM. By June 2, national outlets took notice; Surry County made headlines at The Hill and CBS, as well as conservative outlets like Fox News and New York Post. Commissioner Harris went on Fox and Friends to speak on the group’s decision. Residents at the June 7 meeting mentioned this during a public forum. “I just want to ask you what you are really doing to address the needs of the least of these in our community,” Alexius Brown Lipot told the commissioners. “You talk about standing up to the ‘cancel culture,’ yet you become the very same. You talk about representing your constituents, but while you brag on Fox News, some of your constituents are dying, while others are exhausting themselves to help the least of these.” Multiple speakers mentioned Harris’s own words about the opioid epidemic and its devastating effects on the county. A man asked what it would take for the commissioners to accept that the election was free and fair. All asked the commissioners to focus on what the community actually needs. “Quite frankly, if you sit on the Board of Commissioners for Surry County and you would refuse any company to bring

Surry County tried to cancel Coca-Cola economic development to our county, you are a moron,” Wes Caudle told the board. At that meeting, in another 3-2 vote, the commissioners took back their previous declaration. Harris and Tucker dissented. This isn’t the first time Surry County has made national news for its conservative politics. In January 2017, a reporter from The Washington Post came to town to write about how Donald Trump had won over conservative Christians. In the story, former mayor David Rowe made some remarks that would lead most elected officials to resign. “When you’re my age and you see an African American boy with pants at their knees, you can’t appreciate them,” he told the Post. “I’m worried about when a person chooses to dress like that, what kind of effect will that person have on society.” Instead of resigning, Rowe was elected to another term later that year. In January, a Pilot Mountain couple stormed the U.S. Capitol alongside rough-

PHOTO FROM UNSPLASH

ly 800 right-wing rioters. Both have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, as well as with violent entry and disorderly conduct. And if you’re fine going back a few years and stepping a few miles away, a Ku Klux Klan cross burning in Cana, Virginia, ten minutes from Mount Airy, was the subject of a Supreme Court decision in 2003. Then, there are smaller things. In 2020, board chair Larry Johnson signed onto a statement of understanding from the Surry County NAACP that acknowledged the existence of systemic racism and made a commitment to do better. The mayors of Elkin, Pilot Mountain, and Dobson signed on, too. The other four commissioners opposed Johnson’s decision. “This commissioner does not believe that our country is systemically racist,” Harris said at the time. There’s the Confederate monument, located next to the county courthouse,


which was dedicated in 2005—just 140 years after the Civil War ended. Or the reporter covering the Coca-Cola controversy for the Mount Airy News, formerly owned by the Civitas Institute, Art Pope’s think tank, who compared the murder of two journalists in Roanoke, Virginia, to the Charleston church shooting. And then, the extension of the Barter Theatre, one of the only year-round repertoire theatres still standing, that was scrapped because local officials said it’d be too expensive. Despite all this, Surry County isn’t as staunchly Republican as people may expect. In the November 3 election, Democrats received around 25 percent of the vote in almost every race (Orange County also had a 75-25 split, with Republicans in the minority). Surry County has more than 4,000 Black residents and almost 8,000 Latinx residents (my family is included in that count, although we are white Latinx). Together, they make up about 15 percent of the population. In Forsyth County, a 45-minute drive and home to the closest Target, almost 41 percent of residents are Black or Latinx. A Juneteenth festival took place in downtown Mount Airy earlier this month. There was a Black Lives Matter rally last year. These events do not absolve the racism and partisanship of our elected officials—especially as the local newspaper shares commentary from readers telling the public that Black folks have “an excuse for failure”—but they represent glimmers of progress. Mount Airy, the biggest town in Surry, was my only home until I moved to the Triangle for school. My parents still live there. Both sets of my grandparents moved there in recent years. I have a tattoo of Pilot Mountain, the first thing I see when I hit the county line, so that I could always take a piece of home with me. I don’t know what would make my hometown more tolerant: changing the direction of dying newspapers, or the weak organizational support for rural Democrats in Surry and other small counties, or some act of God. I worry about the conservative feedback loop that only strengthens as people like me move away. I also see hope in the children and teens and supportive community members who don’t want to put up with it any longer. In 2017, I wrote about The Washington Post story for a college media group and asked folks to expand their understanding of my hometown, and all other small towns. Four years later, I still wish for that, but I also wish for it to do the work to be the happy, friendly place it claims to be. W INDYweek.com

June 30, 2021

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FO O D & D R I N K

Whole Hog The enduring legacy of Crook’s Corner chef Bill Neal lives on in kitchens across the country BY MADDY SWEITZER-LAMME food@indyweek.com

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ood restaurants beget good restaurants. One positive experience leads to another, drawing in talented cooks and servers who then go on to open their own restaurants, spreading outward like the roots of a tree, until a region becomes known for culinary excellence and distinctive cuisine that can stand on its own. In the Triangle, Crook’s Corner is the center of those roots. The iconic restaurant was opened in 1982 by Bill Neal and Gene Hamer. Earlier this summer, the new ownership—who bought the restaurant from Hamer in 2018— announced that the restaurant would close. (In a recent interview with the INDY, Hamer did add this: “I am hopeful that it will reopen. And there’s a possibility that it will.”) In its nearly 30 years of business, Crook’s and the people who worked in it left an indelible legacy on North Carolina, one that continues to deeply influence the way we eat across the American South. “In the beginning of the local food movement, the South is a really important location, and Crook’s is central to that,” says Marcie Cohen Ferris, professor emeritus of American Studies professor at UNC Chapel Hill and a longtime regular at Crook’s. “What Crook’s did was to celebrate—not elevate—the ordinary and the everyday of Southern cuisine.” If you ever ate at Crook’s, sliding into the wide booths or bellying up to the Lucite bar, you probably had an order of the shrimp and grits. First introduced to the menu by Neal in the mid 80s, it became Crook’s most famed and revelatory dish. While shrimp and grits is, by now, almost a cliché of Southern menus, Neal was one of the first chefs to present the dish as more than what it had previously been—a common breakfast dish for fishermen in the low country of South Carolina, where Neal had grown up. The dish, as Neal served it, was made famous in 1985 when Craig Claiborne, then The New York Times food critic and a Southerner himself, visited Chapel Hill, ate at Crook’s Corner, and wrote several articles about Neal’s food. These pieces brought Southern food and the North Carolina restaurant scene into the national spotlight for the first time in a serious way. 16

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The iconic pig sculpture above Crook’s Corner

PHOTO BY BRETT VILLENA

Neal quickly became known for his academic approach to cooking, spending hours in the UNC libraries reading about Southern food, as well as for his commitment to cooking with the seasons. He was among the first American chefs to present an ever-changing menu that was written daily based on what was available to him from local farmers. In 1985, he authored the influential UNC Press cookbook, Southern Cooking. In many ways, Neal’s rise to fame mirrored that of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, who are often acknowledged as the birthplace of the American farm-to-table movement. In 1991, Neal died at the age of 41, a victim of AIDS. The disease cut his life and blossoming career cruelly short. Many Southern chefs equate his influence on American cuisine to that of Waters’. When Ben and Karen Barker— who opened (and in 2012, closed) the legendary Magnolia Grill in Durham—were fresh out of culinary school in 1982, they considered only two locations: they would either move to Northern California, where they hoped to catch the influence of Waters’ local, seasonal cooking, or North Carolina, where they hoped to work for Bill Neal. At that time, Neal was a young Southern chef who was just making his way at La Residence, which he ran with his then-wife Moreton Neal, cooking Southern-inflected, locally driven French food. The story goes that, although Neal wouldn’t hire the Barkers due to their cooking school backgrounds (Neal preferred to train cooks from scratch), they found jobs in the kitchen of La Residence as Neale left to open Crook’s Corner. Even

from a distance—about a half-mile between the restaurants, to be precise—his influence on their cooking was significant. “Karen and I were mentored in absentia by Bill,” says Ben Barker. “Because everyone who worked [at La Residence] had learned from him, they were all acolytes and they did things the way that he had taught them.” The Barkers’ Magnolia Grill wasn’t the only famed Southern restaurant to be influenced by Crook’s Corner. John Currence, owner of several Oxford, Mississippi, restaurants, including City Grocery and Bouré, among others, got his start at Crook’s Corner, as did Robert Stehling, who ran Charleston icon Hominy Grill, which closed in 2019 after 23 years. Both restaurants had seasonal menus of Southern classics, and both served shrimp and grits. “Crook’s helped Southern cooks be so thoroughly proud of the food of where we come from that we were never ashamed to cook our legacy cuisine,” Barker said. “It’s enabled us to be proud and powerful interpreters of the food that our grandparents and great grandparents cooked. Neal helped us all realize that our food was as refined and elegant in its own special way as the greatest French cuisine.” After Claiborne’s visit for the Times in 1985, the lines to get into Crook’s Corner stretched longer and longer until Hamer and Neal introduced reservations in the interest of preserving space for their regulars. They swapped paper napkins for linen ones, but they never introduced tablecloths, and they never stopped wanting the restaurant to be friendly, casual, and affordable. Unlike some of the other Southern restaurants of the era, the desire for Crook’s to be accessible to all kinds


of people was baked into the vision from the very beginning. “I remember that once [the architect] Buckminster Fuller was giving a talk or something on campus,” Hamer says. “The department brought him to Crook’s to eat and he was sitting there, and the construction guys were sitting right next to him, and Bill [Neal] comes up to me and he said ‘Look at that Gene. We’ve got Buckminster Fuller, and then the people that make his dreams happen.’ He was really proud of that.” After Neal passed away in 1991, Hamer brought on Bill Smith, who had worked under Neal at La Residence, to run the kitchen. Smith ran Crook’s for 25 years, steering the restaurant into the 21st century and retaining the spirit of the restaurant with a seasonal menu based on locally available ingredients and a casual, welcoming setting, all while evolving it. He was nominated twice for a James Beard award for Best Chef: Southeast, and wrote several cookbooks. He also became known for his immigration advocacy, working to support his largely-immigrant kitchen staff, many who were close friends to Smith. “Crook’s reflects the changing story of labor and immigration in North Carolina,” Ferris says. “It’s a place where we can see the changing demographics and the powerful impact of Latinx immigration upon our region and the food here.” Smith encouraged that influence, recognizing and celebrating the culinary connections between the South and Mexico and adding dishes like pozole, a Mexican stew made with pork and hominy, both common ingredients in Southern cooking, to the menu. The closure of Crook’s Corner, announced on June 9, 2021, is hardly shocking to anyone who has been paying attention to the devastation that COVID-19 wrought on the restaurant industry. But it’s still painful. “I want Crook’s to be as old as Antoine’s,” Hamer said recently, referencing the New Orleans restaurant that has been open since 1840. “I’m very proud of what we built at Crook’s. Of course I’m proud of the food. But I’m more proud of everything else that we built. It took the food to bring people in, but really it was what we all did to keep them coming back.” Crook’s lives on at Neal’s Deli, where Neal’s son Matt bakes some of the best biscuits in the state of North Carolina. It lives on in the recipes published in Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking and in Bill Smith’s Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook’s Corner and Home and Crabs and Oysters: A Savor the South Cookbook. And it lives further on, of course, in the plates of shrimp and grits served in restaurants and at kitchen tables all across the country. W

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17


M U SIC

Fire and Brimstone 50 years after the release of his self-titled album, the music of North Carolina rock star Link Wray—proud, Indigenous, Southern, and Christian—still resounds fiercely BY NICK MARTIN music@indyweek.com

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here’s gonna be a revival tonight. Thirteen seconds of a sparse snare and bum-dum-bum on the low end of a distant piano. Then, those six words welcome you into the world, and the truth, of Link Wray. Link Wray, the self-titled 1971 album that celebrates its 50th anniversary this month, wasn’t the North Carolina musician’s first offering—far from it. By that point, Wray had spent the better part of the sixties toiling in teen bop hell, and that was after he’d exploded the brains of young Iggy Pop, Pete Townshend, and Jimmy Page with his thunderous hit, “Rumble,” which managed to peak at No. 16 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100 in 1958, simultaneously becoming one of the first songs without words to be banned by American radio stations. That is the unvarnished reality of how gifted Wray was. And even after cranking out mind-numbing albums stuffed by disingenuous, or at least misguided, labels, Wray still did not need to remind anyone who he was. With the release of his 1971 album, though, Wray managed to simultaneously find and share his true self. The work, titled not to signal a desperate reminder but a true introduction, set a new tone for an artist who already had inspired a generation of soon-to-be world-class rock giants with a hard-nosed riff. He had, to this point in his career, failed to express himself fully: as a man born, molded, restrained, and claimed by the South; as a Christian raised in one-room churches where shouting the word “Amen” doubled as breathing; and as a Shawnee Tribe citizen, artist, and human being. Wray was not recorded in the South; instead, it came to life in Maryland in a chicken coop in his older brother’s backyard. At the time, the album was also not considered a uniquely Indigenous production—and yet, what he walked away from would be just as Southern, Indigenous, and revelatory as any work of art that’s been produced by any Southern, Indigenous, or remade artist in the half-century since. To appreciate the album in its totality requires one to have spent some serious time inside a Southern church—a statement that might sound peculiar, at first glance, about a record that includes Wray growling, with the one lung that tuberculosis didn’t steal from him, “I’m a crowbar, baby, I wanna pull out all your nails.” Allow me to be more specific: understanding Wray requires one to have spent a Sunday morning squirming on an unforgivingly solid wooden pew, waiting for your congregation’s piano player—likely an aunt, maybe a cousin—to calmly take their seat on the bench, silently flip to your favorite hymn, and, after a subtle cue from the pulpit, raise the bodies, voices, and spirits of an entire room. It requires that room to be filled with people you know, love, fear, adore, despise; people you could never live without. 18

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Link Wray photographed at The Village Underground in NYC on March 8, 2003. PHOTO BY ANTHONY PEPITONE

It requires, in my case, Calvary Baptist Church. Resting upon High Plains Road, the church is a home for all Sappony—one of North Carolina’s eight tribes and the one I will forever belong to. How Calvary and its predecessors came to hold its current place at the center of our tribal community is a complicated story wrapped in colonization, love, disdain, shelter, and escape. As European forces became American forces, the march of westward expansion left little room for the East Coast tribes that miraculously withstood the initial wave. As southern society transitioned from one shaped by slavery to one shaped by segregation, Native communities, particularly in North Carolina, often found ourselves in the crosshairs of those who believed any land they stood on to be their God-given property. So we took refuge in the one place we could. We took shelter in Calvary. It was the one place we were allowed to exist in peace by those who sought to relieve us of our land, our flesh, and even the words off our tongues. We learned their good book’s stories, we took on their faith and fear of the Lord, and we became—or, depending on your outlook, were turned into, by geopolitical forces that issued an assimilate-or-perish diktat—a Christian people. In that sense, to continue holding Calvary as an epicenter of our community would seem to grant credence to the idea that the forces that drove us off of our lands and sought to snuff out our traditions were ultimately excused for their transgressions by the presence of a higher power—and they are not. Yet, Calvary is the place where I played flashlight tag among the gravestones, which hold the bodies of dozens of my ancestors and relatives. It is the place where I looked on as my two older cousins rolled their eyes as a visiting pastor attempted to restate the importance of household gender roles—a hilarious statement, given that it is the


women of our tribe who have always led us forward. It is the place where I played softball with my cousins until the night sky softly said, “No more.” It is where I held back tears as I carried my grandmother down the steps to her final resting spot, and, during many of those aforementioned hymns, where I came as close to God as I likely will ever come in my lifetime. Regardless of whether I or anyone else wants it to be, it is the foundation of our High Plains community. This, too, was true for Link Wray. His people, the Shawnee, did not live in nor come from North Carolina. As Dana Raidt detailed in her biography, LINK WRAY: The First Man in Black, Wray grew up in Dunn, down in Harnett County, where the heavy presence of the KKK, which routinely terrorized Native families throughout North Carolina, very clearly molded the violent realities that Wray relives in “Ice People,” the seventh entry on this album. The problem that Wray encountered in his first four decades navigating a colonial society was that the American entertainment industries had little use or patience for a Native artist who desired to be themselves, let alone tap into their gospel roots. Wray’s run with Columbia’s Epic Records—then performing as Link Wray and the Wraymen—serves as a crystallized version of this nationwide misunderstanding. With singles like “Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” Epic sought to round off his rough edges and smother any trace of his Shawnee self in hair gel and fitted suits. But something special happened in that chicken shack. After summoning the jubilant energy of a revival in his opener, Wray uses the track “Take Me Home, Jesus,” to recount a warmer version of home, “where the smell is oh-sosweet in the pines,” as a choir that could have doubled as our Calvary congregation softly coos, “Jesus, Jesus, do not pass me by.” In “God Out West,” Wray offers a fascinating exploration of the Manifest Destiny mindset, wherein he repeatedly assures us that the “Lord found me a place.” The song is split in two by a searing, distorted solo before re-centering Wray and his choir, who repeat the refrain, “Sing it, Hallelujah,” until everything fades into “Crowbar.” But the heart of the album is the raucous “Fire and Brimstone.” ” From the moment that Wray’s wild-fingered guitar picking breaks the moment of silence between songs, it’s clear that his opening salvo predicting a revival was less an invitation than a vision. In “Brimstone,” Wray recounts a dream in which he presumably watches on helplessly as the full weight of the Lord’s might is rained down upon his head. And in an album full of fairly similar song structures, the anchoring solo here feels no more predictable, and no less blood-pumping, than the rest, as Wray sets the coop ablaze before stretching his vocal chords to their extreme, screaming, “I saw fi-yah! I saw fi-yah!” That backyard chicken coop functioned for Wray the way that the church has functioned for Southern Natives—an escape within a trap. From this same session, Wray and his brother produced the 1973 album, Beans and Fatback, which includes a stripped down version of “Shawnee Tribe,” a song he’d re-release on 2008’s “Apache,” then smothered by electricity and reverb into a near-unrecognizable, though still admittedly nod-inducing, state. Outside of the coop, there were still label bosses and radio executives who would sneer at the thought of promoting an outwardly proud Indigenous artist. To record an album in hopes of selling it to such people was to be partially complicit in the construction of the box he’d been born into. But in that coop—that pocket of freedom—he managed to dig into his soul and realize, as many of us have over the years in the church, that our souls are the one place that colonizers can never truly touch, regardless of how many boarding schools, Klan rallies, or oppressive congressional acts they foster. In creating Wray, its namesake did not find a way to outsmart an industry or usurp the anti-Indigenous roadblocks that still exist to trip up and hold back Native artists today. He had found, instead, a way to be free in a world that still demands we be anything but. W

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Nick Martin is a member of the Sappony Tribe and a staff writer at The New Republic. INDYweek.com

June 30, 2021

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S PO RTS

NC Courage Pride Night on June 26 PHOTOS BY BRETT VILLENA

Dreaming in Color A NC Courage match marks Olympic ambitions, inaugural Pride Month jerseys, and excellence on and beyond the field BY MICHAELA DWYER arts@indyweek.com

J

ust eight miles from the State Legislature, where last month Republican lawmakers introduced a bill targeting transgender athletes’ participation in school sports, a large crowd began to gather on Saturday night. They had come out to see the North Carolina Courage take on the Portland Thorns at Cary’s Sahlen’s Stadium. The June 26 match, which fell on the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL’s) annual Pride Night, felt like a rainbow swirl of a rejoinder. In the dirt parking lanes around the stadium, fans in Pride gear helmed trunk-propped pong games as the black and brown and pink, blue, and white stripes of “Progress” Pride flags intermingled with the North Carolina state colors and crest. Meanwhile, Olivia Rodrigo’s anti-teenage-doldrums screed “brutal” blasted over the speakers as Jessica Turner and Mary Pruter—vice president and president, respec20

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tively, of the Courage’s supporters’ group The Uproar—surveyed the incoming crowd, beckoning newcomers over to a pregame picnic. A mix of folks ambled by: parents and children, hyped youth soccer teams, millennials wearing local band shirts, embracing couples. “I think, for the women’s game, it’s a little bit more diverse in the types of people that come out [for games],” Turner says, comparing the crowd turnout to that of men’s soccer and other men’s sports. “Women’s soccer is more likely to be an LGBTQ-friendly or safer space. I hope that we’re creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable.” June marks both Pride Month and the end of the first third of the NWSL’s 2021 season, back to its typical schedule after an off-kilter pandemic year. It’s no exaggeration to call these pro athletes some of the best in the world. Four Courage players—Saman-

tha Mewis, Lynn Williams, Debinha, and Abby Erceg—are heading to the Tokyo Olympics with the women’s national teams for the United States, Brazil, and New Zealand. And anyone who follows sports with the simple understanding that “soccer” does not therefore equate to “men’s soccer” knows that women’s sports participants’ commitment to advancing the game extends past the field. (It’s also important to remember that not all athletes in “women’s sports” identify as women.) The WNBA led the way last year in protesting racial injustice and police brutality with a focus on honoring the memory of Breonna Taylor, and the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) has long fought, publicly, for pay equity. And it’s true that between players and fans alike, women’s soccer is—as several friends and I have phrased it—“super gay.” “Some of the foremost soccer players in our country are queer women,” Turner says. “They’re out and they’re proud. I think that also creates a safer space for fans, for other players, for people to say: I see myself in this person being out and proud and living their life in the best, fullest way.” The current Courage roster gives the impression of being a synergistic collective, made up of queer players and straight allies who materially support inclusion and anti-discrimination through fundraising initiatives like Playing for Pride. The match against the Thorns marked the Courage’s debut of Pride-themed jerseys; the team also had Pride Night shirts for sale, benefiting the LGBT Center of Raleigh. The league’s, and the Courage’s, history with LGBTQ+ support, however, is more complicated. One local flashpoint: the 2017 controversy over former Courage player Jaelene Daniels (then Hinkle), who, citing her Christian faith, refused a spot on the U.S. Women’s National Team because she didn’t want to wear a Pride jersey during Pride Month. Fans were hurt and haven’t forgotten, and players have recently become more vocal about that moment’s broader implications.


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Courage forward Lynn Williams—who was just named as an alternate for the National Team’s Olympic squad and who, with a placid vengeance, netted the team’s two winning goals over the Thorns on Saturday—has called attention to the team’s past shortcomings, both in her podcast with USWNT and Courage teammate Sam Mewis, and in her post-match comments on Saturday. “It’s been a long time coming,” Williams said, referring to the team’s first time playing in Pride jerseys. “I think I can speak on behalf of the team to say: we should have done this—worn the Pride numbers—way sooner. The whole past year we’ve learned from our mistakes, and hopefully we can continue to rectify those mistakes.” Turner and Pruter agree that during this past year, COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement energized the Courage players to be more intentional and intersectional in their activism. “There is a sentiment in the team of understanding how these oppressions are overlapping or interlocking,” Turner says. “You can’t be advocating for Black Lives Matter and not for equality for the LGBTQ community. Those things interact.” In this way, supporters’ groups like the Uproar also serve as a check on the team’s institutional commitments. “We’re always pushing the club to speak out more and to really be thoughtful about what they’re saying,” Turner says. “What are you projecting out, and how are you backing that up as well?” Fans will notice that the Courage’s jerseys are available for purchase online in gender-neutral sizing; this is a result of the Uproar’s push. Gestures like these help to

collapse the space between player and fan, signaling mutual investment in common causes and affirming women’s soccer spaces as spaces for everyone. This Pride Night had an onward-and-upward feel, too. After a 0-0 halftime standstill, a blissfully cohesive and Courage-dominant second-half performance secured a 2-0 win over Portland. From the 66th minute on, when Williams headed in her decisive second goal after a trademark assist by Carson Pickett, the fans were wild, throwing a call-and-response “NC! Courage!” into the humid night air. When the team made its usual postgame lap of the field to thank fans and bid adieu before the Olympics-bound players jet off, several players were cloaked—like their supporters—in Pride flags. Between player numbers and fabric banners, rainbows on rainbows, the stadium resembled a hyper-local Pride parade: a scene that felt both remarkable and yet totally normal at the same time, and a refreshing comedown from the corporate and consumer Pride performativity that often characterizes Pride Month. It’s the fans, coming out in droves across the North Carolina Triangle, that make the sport what it is. Regardless of whether or not it’s officially Pride Night, most Courage games feel beautifully open and, yes, “super gay.” Uproar member Eboni Christmas encapsulated the vibe with a tweeted photo of her newly acquired Pride jersey—Brazilian Courage player Debinha’s number 10. “I have pride in my teams,” she wrote. “And now, I have a jersey that shows they have pride in me too.” W

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